By Derek Spellman
A Joplin teen who fired an assault rifle in Memorial Middle School and then aimed it at an administrator more than two years ago pleaded guilty to a pair of assault charges Friday.
Thomas White will be considered for the state’s dual jurisdiction program as part of a pending plea agreement with the Jasper County prosecutor. Also under the pending agreement, the 16-year-old White pleaded guilty to a companion charge of armed-criminal action, while two remaining felony charges would be dismissed.
Circuit Judge David Mouton on Friday said he would defer a final decision on the plea agreement until White’s sentencing hearing. White had previously been certified to stand trial as an adult.
White was charged with five felony counts after discharging an assault rifle inside Memorial Middle School on Oct. 9, 2006.
White, who was 13 at the time of the incident, is accused of firing the rifle once into the ceiling of a school hallway, pointing the weapon at an assistant superintendent and the school principal, and attempting to shoot the latter.
Police say the gun jammed after the firing of a single round into the ceiling because of an improperly seated ammunition clip. The school principal later ushered him out of the building.
White was to undergo a competency hearing Friday to explore whether he was mentally competent to assist in his own defense. A state psychiatrist evaluated White earlier this year and found him mentally incompetent to do so, prompting the Jasper County prosecutor to seek a second opinion.
But White, via his new defense attorney, Steven Hays, on Friday agreed that he had the capacity to understand the proceedings against him and assist in his own defense. He entered his guilty pleas shortly afterward while his mother, Norma White, looked on in the courtroom.
By Derek Spellman
- Joplin Metro
Longtime Democrat dies at 81
Sapp, 81, died Thursday. Funeral services were Monday at the First Presbyterian Church of Joplin. A longtime Jasper County Democratic committeewoman and volunteer, Sapp for years was secretary to the county’s central committee.
Nixon visits Joplin to sign breast density bill
Democratic Gov. Jay Nixon signed legislation at Freeman Hospital on Tuesday that will require radiologists in Missouri to provide information about breast density on post-mammogram reports.
Defendant draws 10 years for assault of ex-girlfriend
A Jasper County judge today sentenced a rural Joplin man to 10 years in prison for an assault on an ex-girlfriend with a walking stick that left one of her eyes detached from its socket.
Rural Joplin child dies from gunshot wound to head
A 3-year-old girl died Monday at 11:30 a.m. Monday at Freeman Health Systems after suffering a gunshot wound to the head. The incident occurred at the child's home in rural Joplin, said Sheriff Ken Copeland.
Suspect in coach's slaying posts bond
Jeffrey Bruner posted bond shortly before noon today and was released from the Jasper County Jail in Carthage.
Downtown group warns about Third Thursday mail scam
Officials with the Downtown Joplin Alliance on Friday announced that a mail scam involving Third Thursday has been discovered.
PART TWO: Joplin City Council report documents continued
As a result of a court order obtained by the Globe against the City of Joplin, and Thursday's waiving of appeal by the City Council, we have received a copy of the Thomas Loraine investigation report that led to the firing of former city manager Mark Rohr. Documents are converted for digital viewing.
The amount of documentation we received is extensive, and testimonies are continued here.
PART ONE: Joplin Globe receives copy of investigation named in court order
As a result of a court order obtained by the Globe against the City of Joplin, and Thursday's waiving of appeal by the City Council, we have received a copy of the Thomas Loraine investigation report that led to the firing of former city manager Mark Rohr. As documents are converted for digital viewing, they will be uploaded here.
In City Council race, Joplin voters elect two newcomers, three incumbents
Joplin voters rejected two incumbents who voted to fire City Manager Mark Rohr, instead electing two newcomers and returning three incumbents to the City Council who had supported Rohr.
Joplin voters reject all three charter changes
The changes were placed on the ballot by the City Council acting upon recommendations by a Charter Review Commission that met last fall.
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- Longtime Democrat dies at 81